Courtesy of Hammer & Tongs
Written by Reuben
Hammer & Tongs is a specialist in preparing the Braai’d Lamb Ribs. They have a massive wood-fired braai that burns night and day at the back of the restaurant (also visible to diners!). As soon as you enter the restaurant, you are greeted with the burning smell of their Sickle Bush wood (imported from South Africa). It is not an overwhelming smell, and it does stimulate your sense of smell before a meal (clever tactic there J)! Also, definitely worth just walking over to their open kitchen, say hi to their chefs and see how they run the show.
Their lamb ribs (at £35) is usually a meal for two to four people, and since I was having lunch at Hammer & Tongs by myself, it was better to try out other things on their menu. Instead of their signature dish, I was treated with a few of their sosaties (skewers).
Glazed tiger prawns skewer
4 tiger prawns on one skewer with some fresh rockets and sauces. My prawns were lightly charred. Their bodies had been peeled off, but the heads and the tails were left on, which is great because I enjoy sucking prawn heads. To my surprise the prawn heads were incredibly juicy; I thought they would have been dry! They were also spicy which really gives them a kick. The prawns were well-cooked and rocket leaves were there to balance that spiciness. I must add that the sauces that came with the prawns were not necessary though. I can understand that the sauces were meant to complement the spiciness, but I like my spice. Still is my favourite sosatie though!
Lamb with apricot skewer
I was told that this was going to be a new addition to their menu. My thoughts on this? Well-seasoned and tender lamb chunks and that burst of juice from the apricot fruit made the entire eating experience more intense! There were 8 lamb chunks and about 5 pieces of apricot on my skewer, with onions in between. The lamb chunks were not dry at all and very tasty.
A fresh cous cous salad (£6)
This was a generous serving of cous cous salad and their “home-made” bread drizzled with olive oil. There were pine nuts, rocket leaves, goat cheese, sultanas, roasted butternut and cous cous all in one bowl. By the time I finished this, I was stuffed!
Dark chocolate mousse
This dessert was recommended to me and it was served with blackberry compote, yogurt and pumpkin seed crumble. Did not take a photo of it, but I liked the dessert.
Overall thoughts? They have a basement bar with a bespoke ice cutter and South African influenced cocktails and their cocktails and wine prices are comparable to the ones in central London. They also have a separate area in the basement to cater to large groups. There are also serve steaks, chicken wings and lamb chops on their food menu. And if you are looking to save some quid, there is their express lunch menu to look at! I do see a few positive signs coming from them, so what is not there to get excited about? Give Hammer and Tongs a try!